Welcome to Film Room, our weekly analysis of LSU’s last football game.
Have a seat. No talking. No tweeting. No texting. Pay attention.
How They Happened (big-play analysis)
'Wrong way': On the game's final play - fourth-and-goal from the 1 - LSU RB Derrius Guice is stopped short of the goal line.
- The top image is how this play was designed, or at least how we think it was designed. It's a fake dive to FB J.D. Moore (orange circle) and a pitch to the left to RB Derrius Guice (black circle). TE Foster Moreau (red circle) is expected to get the sealing block on the edge, a block that should spring Guice to the outside.
- The bottom image is about 1 second into the play. Remember when interim coach Ed Orgeron said that Guice "ran the wrong way" on this final play? This is what he's talking about. Guice is heading right - not left, where the play is designed to be run. QB Danny Etling actually double clutches before pitching to Guice because he sees the running back darting right.
- The blocking in the bottom image from Moreau (red) and Moore (orange) is exactly what LSU wants. It's all set up for Guice to out run the free linebacker to the outside left. In the most crucial of situations, the sophomore has a mental lapse.
The third down: On third-and-7 from its own 25-yard line, Florida QB Austin Appleby completes a 13-yard pass to receiver Tyrie Cleveland for a first down with 11:30 left in the game.
- This is an overshadowed play in a game that included a host of critical downs, but it's just as important as any. It comes on the third play of what turns into a 15-play, 70-yard march for the Gators, eating up more than 7 minutes of the fourth quarter.
- LSU uses a six-defensive back Dime package, something we haven't seen too often this year. The Tigers used it at least four times against the Gators. Ed Paris (black circle) enters in the Dime and is matched up here with Cleveland. Tre'Davious White (red circle) takes UF WR Brandon Powell. Both receivers in that bunched formation run crossing routes, with Powell going short and Cleveland going long. Safety Jamal Adams (yellow) is in coverage in the flats, and Dwayne Thomas (blue) rushes the passer.
- Cleveland runs past Paris, getting ahead of him around the 30-yard line, and Appleby delivers a strike. Paris hasn't seen a ton of snaps this season, and, usually, LSU might use Kevin Toliver as a fifth or sixth defensive back. However, Toliver has not seen many defensive snaps lately. It's unclear why.
Loading the box: LSU snapped 22 plays inside the Florida red zone, and many of them looked just like this. The Gators loaded what's commonly referred to as "the box," an area within 7 yards of the ball.
- LSU took five trips inside of Florida's red zone and came away with 10 points. Yes, the Tigers botched a hold on a field goal attempt and lost a fumble, but the Gators "filled it up," as center Ethan Pocic said. They stacked the box. In LSU's 16 called rushes in the red zone (there were 6 called passes), Florida averaged 9.5 defenders in the box against the Tigers' 7.6 blockers.
- On 14 of those 16 plays, UF had two more defenders than LSU had blockers. That's what you see in the image above. Florida is out-numbering LSU 10 to 8 on a second-down play in the third quarter. The Tigers averaged 2.25 yards a carry on those 16 rushing plays in the red zone, totaling 36 yards (that includes a 10-yard run from D.J. Chark on an end-around toss play).
- QB Danny Etling, after the game, did not question any of LSU's calls in the red zone, but he did say this when asked about spreading the field with receivers on the last drive: "We spread it out for the most part that whole drive up until we got to the very end." In its last two snaps of the game, LSU did not use a receiver. In 12 of the 22 snaps in the red zone, the Tigers used one or no receiver.
Big Ugly Blips And Booms (OL analysis)
- LSU had serious trouble blocking Florida defensive lineman Caleb Brantley, especially in the red zone. Brantley was behind two crucial red-zone plays, each time beating a different LSU offensive lineman. He ran past LT K.J. Malone to drop Leonard Fournette for a 1-yard loss on third-and-goal from the 1 in the third quarter, and he slipped by LG Will Clapp to force RB Derrius Guice's fumble on first-and-goal from the 7 in the second quarter. Here's that play:
- The red arrow is Clapp. The white arrow is Brantley. This is just a half-second into the snap, and Brantley has already penetrated the backfield. You should know something: Clapp is playing with a "torn shoulder," left tackle K.J. Malone said last week. His pain is obvious during the game, as his arm sometimes hangs limp by his side. Here's a shot of Brantley's big paw perfectly finding the ball and knocking it loose, as Clapp tries to recover:
- Clapp had the most Blips of any lineman (3), a rarity. He and center Ethan Pocic are the strength of the line. Again, Clapp is playing with a torn shoulder that is clearly troubling him. But even an injured Clapp is something coaches prefer. He's a relentless run-blocker and great turning the edge pulling on run plays.
- The Tigers continue to rotate their tackles as you would running backs or receivers. It's an unusual move and could be seen as a sign of the struggles on the outside. In addition to that, all three tackles are battling or have battled injuries recently. K.J. Malone mostly played left tackle in every series, but Maea Teuhema played LT on at least one series. Teuhema and Weathersby alternated at right tackle, with Teuhema getting the start but with Weathersby getting most of the snaps at the position.
- QB Danny Etling was pressured on just three to four dropbacks, and each of those involved missed blocks from a tackle.
Monday Morning Quarterback (QB analysis)
- Boy, Danny Etling took some hits in this one. He was hit at least eight times on about 28 dropbacks. A couple of those were tackles on scamper plays. He's not afraid of contact, that's for sure, and he even raced down field on a zone-read play to block after handing off the ball.
- We didn't chart any misfires from him. Many of his nine incomplete passes were balls he threw away. He threw behind Russell Gage on LSU's final offensive drive, but Gage, many would probably say, should have made the catch.
Back It Up (RB analysis)
- Just one thing here, really. If you were wondering how many snaps Leonard Fournette received in the game, it was about 20. It's pretty clear that he's not near full health, and I imagine his status for the Texas A&M game is very much in doubt.
Five Yard Out (WR/TE analysis)
- LSU receivers dropped two passes. Travin Dural dropped a deep one, and Russell Gage dropped what would have been a 15-yard completion on the final drive (Derrius Guice also dropped a pass on that final drive).
- The Tigers finally had success getting involved freshman Dee Anderson, the 6-foot-5, 200-pound former highly-rated prospect from Texas. He caught two 7-yard passes on similar routes - simple stop routes at the second level. His first career catch gave LSU a first down on a second-and-6. He ran a perfect route, and Etling hit him with a, we think, purposely thrown high pass. Again, he's 6-5 and up against short linebackers. Below is an image of his first catch. The red line is the top or curl route that Anderson runs. The black line is a route that Malachi Dupre runs. LSU bunched the two tall receivers together.
- We all have realized that Etling uses his tight ends more than any other LSU quarterback in the last several years. He may have provided an answer to why Saturday against Florida: they catch the ball. Two receivers dropped passes and so did a running back. The tight ends didn't have a drop, and they were targeted seven times and caught six of those attempts. How's that compare to other position groups? Let's have a look:
- LSU didn't wait long to begin going to the tight ends. On the first series of the game and on the first snap for RB Leonard Fournette, the Tigers went to Colin Jeter. Fournette (black circle) acts as a decoy, as Etling (blue line) rolls out for a bootleg and hits Jeter (red line). The thing, though, that really makes this play work is circled in yellow. The UF defender responsible for Jeter believes Jeter is blocking and he rushed into the backfield for Etling. Jeter sells the play well, blocking the end briefly in a "delay" move that LSU used two years ago to beat Ole Miss.
Up Front (DL analysis)
- The line and linebackers (and, occasionally, the defensive backs) really got pressure on UF QB Austin Appleby. On 22 dropbacks, Appleby felt pressure nine times from LSU defenders. Five of those nine came from Arden Key, two from Davon Godchaux, one from Lewis Neal and one from Dwayne Thomas.
- It appears that Key didn't only play one of his better games against a top-25 team, but he did it hurt. He wore a brace on the upper portion of his left arm. It makes sense. He donned a gold jersey during practice earlier in the week. Gold jerseys signify limited contact while a player nurses an injury.
Backer Bites (LB analysis)
- Losing starting middle LB Kendell Beckwith was significant for LSU. The proof is in the numbers:
- Florida with Beckwith on field: 9 carries for 20 yards (2.2 per carry)
- Florida without Beckwith on field: 26 carries for 106 yds (4.8)
- Beckwith could have helped substantially on Florida's 15-play, 70-yard drive that resulted in a tie-breaking field goal. The fourth-quarter drive ate up more than 7 minutes of the game clock. The Gators ran it 13 times on the drive for 57 yards. Of those 57, 53 came after contact, and LSU missed 6 tackles on that drive (the Tigers missed 13 total for the game).
- Donnie Alexander replaced Beckwith and while he's a speedy, athletic player, he doesn't provide LSU with the kind of bruising, physical and thick build that Beckwith does. Alexander is about 40 pounds lighter than Beckwith.
- What happened to Beckwith's knee? He twisted it when UF RB Jordan Scarlett barreled into him. Here's a shot:
Break It Up (DB analysis)
- We wrote a lot about LSU's use of the Dime package in our Big Play Breakdown section above, but it is something to watch moving forward - how much Aranda uses a scheme that we saw little of earlier in the year. It's clear that he's installing and using new formations and schemes as the season progresses.
- LSU wisely put its best cornerback, Tre'Davious White, on Florida's best receiver, Antonio Callaway. The result: 2 catches for 12 yards. In fact, against White, we only saw Callaway catch one ball on three targets.
Photos courtesy of ESPN.